Eta leaves flooding in South Florida but won't hit it as a hurricane
Residents of El Progreso, Honduras, bring their soaked furniture out to dry on Nov. 7, 2020, after the passage of Hurricane Eta. EFE-EPA/Jose Valle
Residents of El Progreso, Honduras, were dealing with heavy flooding on Nov. 7, 2020, after the passage of Hurricane Eta. EFE-EPA/Jose Valle
South Florida is bracing on Nov. 8, 2020, for the arrival of Tropical Storm Eta as a hurricane as the system moves northwards from Cuba. EFE-EPA/ NOAA-NHC
Rescuers carry an injured man in San Cristobal Verapaz, Honduras, on Nov. 7, 2020, after rescuing him in the area where it is estimated that dozens of people died in a mudslide caused by the passage of storm Eta. EFE-EPA/ Esteban Biba
Miami, United States, Nov 8 (efe-epa).- South Florida was suffering the effects of tropical storm Eta Sunday night, with flooding and thousands of households losing electricity, although it is not expected to become a hurricane until it hits the Gulf of Mexico, the US National Hurricane Center said.
According to the latest bulletin, issued at 10:00 p.m. local time (03:00 GMT Monday), Eta is very close to the southern tip of the Florida peninsula and maintains winds of about 100kmph.
The tropical storm is moving to the northwest at 22kmph and will pass along the Florida Keys throughout Monday morning.
Until it becomes a Category 1 hurricane after Monday at noon (17:00 GMT), Eta will leave "heavy rains and flash floods" that could endanger the lives of residents, who will suffer also the effects of strong winds and dangerous swells, authorities said.
Several urban areas in South Florida, a region in the northern and northeastern part of the system, which is leaving more rain discharges, suffered floods as a result of the heavy rainfall that fell over the weekend.
The situation is expected to worsen as the hours pass and the arrival of new bands of rain from Eta to the region, which is in a state of alarm.
More than 35,000 customers of the Florida Power Light company are without fluid in South Florida due to the passage of the meteorological phenomenon.
But the biggest danger is water, and storm surge flooding can peak 1.2 meters above the usual high tide, according to a report released Sunday by Monroe County, to which Florida Keys belongs.
Rain could make matters worse with flooding of up to 3.6 meters, with isolated maximum amounts of near 5.4 meters.
The accumulation of rainwater and the storm surge can mean, they said, that streets can remain flooded "for days."
Eta arrives in the United States after crossing the island of Cuba this Sunday, where it left significant floods, and after devastating Central America and southern Mexico with at least 93 deaths, 171 missing and a landscape of destruction with incalculable damage.
Heavy rains will continue in Cuba as well as parts of Jamaica and the Bahamas, with the risk of flooding in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean island, the hurricane center said. EFE-EPA
T.S. Eta dumps heavy rain on central Cuba, S. Florida braces for hit
Havana, Nov 8 (efe-epa).- Tropical Storm Eta, which made landfall in Cuba on Sunday morning, has brought heavy rains to the central part of the island, with bad weather extending in the coming hours to the west, where more than 60,000 people have been evacuated from risk zones.
The center of the system moved into the island at Punta Colorados with maximum sustained winds of about 100 kilometers (62 miles) per hour but heavier gusts.
Eta's effects can be felt over Ciego de Avila, some 461 km east of Havana, as the storm moves to the northeast at about 19 kph, according to the most recent bulletin from Cuba's Insmet weather institute.
In recent hours, some 219 millimeters (8.6 inches) of rain has fallen at El Jibaro in Sancti Spiritus province, causing the Majagua River to overflow and inundate a highway, and about 100 tourists who had been staying at Cayo Guillermo were evacuated.
In Sancti Spiritus more than 11,400 people are currently being housed in state-run shelters and individual homes out of harm's way, while in the neighboring province of Villa Clara more than 42,000 evacuees were placed in secure locations and in Camaguey some 7,000 people in 15 communities near the southern coast were evacuated, according to Cuba's ACN news agency.
Although no reports of damage have been received as yet, forecasts are for heavy flooding in the area around the mouths of the Zaza and Cauto rivers.
Presently, the storm's track should take it across Cuba northwards and into the Florida Strait, after which it is expected to hit South Florida, with that zone bracing for its arrival as a Category 1 hurricane, after strengthening over the warm ocean waters.
Monroe County in far South Florida has opened a number of shelters with the requirement that anyone evacuating to them must take a rapid coronavirus test before being admitted.
According to the Miami-based National Hurricane Center, at 10 am Eta was located 380 km south-southeast of Miami with 100-kph winds, although those winds were expected to increase to 120 kph, making the storm a hurricane once again.
The storm is expected to pass over the Florida Keys on Sunday night and to be a Cat 1 hurricane by Monday morning, with storm surge in parts of South Florida expected to reach 1.2 meters (4 feet) and flooding lasting for "days," according to local authorities.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency to facilitate preparations for dealing with the storm and in Miami evacuation shelters were opened to house those who need to leave their homes.
Meanwhile, Honduran authorities announced Sunday that at least 26 people died and six are missing in the flooding brought by Eta as it passed over eastern Central America before making a sharp northeastward curve to head toward Cuba. Some 1.7 million people in Honduras were affected by the storm, with 65,900 rendered incommunicado in 68 communities and almost 27,000 evacuated.
Eta struck Nicaragua's largely unpopulated northeastern coast as a Cat 4 hurricane last Tuesday afternoon.